2014 January- December Report

January to June 2014

The 2014 breeding season marked MFBRP’s third full year intensely monitoring Kiwikiu in The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Waikamoi Preserve. Our team followed and monitored breeding Kiwikiu pairs, adding to our knowledge of the population’s demographics in Waikamoi, the westernmost edge of the species’ range.

In January, we color banded individuals prior to the main breeding season enabling us to track them throughout the season. Our staff were joined by volunteers Aaron Spidal, Erin Kiely, Alex Wang, Sam Jordan, Teia Schweizer, Keith Burnett, and Ian Bordenave.

February through June, staff as well as AmeriCorps intern, Christa Seidl were joined by three research assistants: Liza Olson, Wes Homoya, and Emily Cook.

Time in the field between January and June amounted to 611 person days and 7200 field hours.  Twenty-five individual Kiwikiu were re-sighted and 8 were newly banded. Overall, 23 Kiwikiu pairs were located and ten of them were seen with hatch-year (or juvenile) birds, an annual reproductive success of 43.5%. We also found and monitored one nest. This nest was found at the end of our research season in the incubation stage.

The team went to MFBRP's restoration site in Nakula Natural Area Reserve twice between February and June, joined once by graduate student, Peter Motyka and his assistants and once by Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project crew. On these trips we monitored outplantings, planted native seedlings, collected seeds, managed invasive species.

Continuing from last year, MFBRP was also joined by two graduate students finishing up their research projects, Alex Wang and Peter Motyka.

Alex is studying movements of Akohekohe using radio telemetry in TNC’s Waikamoi Preserve. This past season, 40 'Akohekohe were caught and banded, 25 of them were fitted with transmitters. These birds have been tracked from January until July; most transmitters last about 2 months. In addition to the transmittered adults, an additional 8 color-banded birds have been tracked. Alex’s assistants were Lynn Zhang and Emily Jeffries, who worked with him from February through July.

Peter is studying native forest bird use of non-native forests in Kula Forest Reserve. Peter had two technicians assisting him, Aaron Spidal and Jie Kim, working with him from March until the end of June.

We appreciate the hard work, strenuous field efforts, and talents of all of our staff and volunteers to enable this research and management. 

July-December 2014

MFBRP continued efforts to restore the forest in Nakula NAR for the future reintroduction of Kiwikiu. Experimental restoration trials have been completely installed and are in the monitoring phase of the experiment. The goal of this research is to determine the most efficient and effective ways to restore the degraded landscape. Some of these plots reached the 12-month mark in July 2014. By 12-months we are seeing amazing natural regeneration of several native tree species, particularly aʻaliʻi and koa.

During the summer, MFBRP staff and volunteers prepared “corridors” for future outplantings. Because goats and cows spent most of their time on flat areas and ridges, much of the remaining vegetation is limited to big drainages with steep slopes. The outplanting corridors are designed to connect these separated vertical stripes of forest to eventually allow birds and seeds to move more freely throughout the site. We are also planting in erosion scars, patches of land with bare, exposed soil, to prevent further soil runoff.  Overall, we planted 5,132 seedlings this fall in erosion scars and corridors; plants were composed of māmane, ʻōhiʻa, koa, 'iliahi, aʻaliʻiʻākala, pilo, māmaki, 'ōhelo, and kawa'u.

Additionally, we monitored introduced predator abundances, weather, plots and collected seeds.

We have had many hard working volunteers come out with us July through December. Mahalo to Janel Hull, Colin Sayre, and Kyle Alreck who volunteered with us for 3 months, as well as Cory Foyt, Dana Foyt, Ken Lickout, Delphine Berbigier, Kekai Krael, Janis Matsunga, Patrick Conant, Ian Bordenave, Colin Lindeman, Anna Nielsen, George Akau, and Amy Hodges. We were also joined by our new AmeriCorps Teia Schweizer.